Blogs

The Weekender 04/07/2020

Hi! We have had a few days of beautiful sunny weather with some cold mornings, but lovely winter weather.


Sport

The Wellington Phoenix have got their games sorted and will play their remaining six games in 24 days to finish up the A-League.

In Super Rugby Aotearoa, last weekend the Blues extended their winning run to seven games with a hard-fought 27-24 win over the Highlanders. The Crusaders fought off a strong challenge from the Chiefs to win 18-13 - with a bit of help from the ref.
Super Rugby AU started this weekend with Brad Thorn's Queensland Red's beating their arch-rivals New South Wales Waratahs 32-26 for the first time in seven years.

The Warriors has set the NRL a deadline of 23-days to get the remaining players' families into Australia, but it wasn't soon enough for one player who has headed home. The issue the NRL has is that without the Warriors they would have to renegotiate their TV rights.

New Zealand was awarded the men's and women's World Sevens Series titles. World Rugby has cancelled the rest of the series and both NZ teams were leading the competition.

All White midfielder Sarpeet Singh had his first game starting for Bayern Munich recently and has won his first title with them.

Scott McLaughlin would have won the Sydney round of the Aussie V8's after winning two of the races. He extended his championship advantage to 49 points.

Team New Zealand has had some off-the-water issues this week after some spies leaked some confidential information. In addition, they lost some money to some European scammers, and the government has put a pause on their government funds while they check things out.


NZ News

Transport Minister Phil Twyford finally got around to visiting the troubled Transmission Gully site. This week Justice Minister Andrew Little found the time to be outraged with the idea that Family First might be receiving funding from an American Lobby group for their "no" campaign against legalising cannabis. There are so many things wrong with that I'm not sure where to start. Firstly, America has tried this and they know how bad an idea it is, for example, the trucking industry is struggling to find drivers that can pass drug tests. Next, and perhaps most importantly, if he had just asked Family First he would have been told that no, they weren't funding the campaign. Next. Although the government (especially if you ask them) will claim they are neutral and balanced, but his outrage indicates otherwise. Finally, the government-funded Drug Foundation spent hundreds of thousands promoting the "yes" vote. That is pretty horrific considering that if the vote goes through they'll be paying for it in all sorts of ways anyway!

Auckland has secured access to get more water from the Waikato River to ease their drought crisis. There had been a few stories about Tainui blocking it etc, but I guess that is now sorted.

There have been a few more cases of Covid-19 this week, but in good news for NZ health, Labour MP David Clark resigned as Health Minister. It's quite funny, but he said he wasn't pushed out - which is pretty unlikely. Another case of "the most transparent government ever", being anything but.

The Green Party had a week to forget. Firstly they announced their new wealth tax - which NZ First leader Winston Peter's accurately described as "nuts". Then they had MP's getting upset - but then back peddling. Comedian Rose Matafeo was invited to host the party's campaign launch along with fellow comedian Guy Williams. Except Matafeo and Williams used to be a couple, but now Williams is partner to Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman. So you can see where this is going. Matafeo got sent an email saying she was asked to step down at the request of Ghahraman, and then the Green Party tries to cover it all over saying MP's don't control that, and it was just a scheduling conflict. ... another case of "the most transparent government ever", being anything but.

National Party MP Paula Bennett will leave politics at the next election after her demotion as deputy and her drop down the rankings.


The Numbers Game

-7.7: degC for Saint Arnaud yesterday, but Ardmore, Auckland was -1C which is unusual for Auckland
11: m waves recorded during the storm & rain off the South Island, closed roads for most passes and Desert Road with snow to 500m
55.44: % total water storage for Auckland after a few days of rain earlier in the week - good news but below the usual 79.8%
91: year old grandmother became the oldest person to bungy jump off the Auckland Harbour bridge
95: mm of rain in 24 hours around Hawke's Bay
120: kph winds during the storm
50m: L/day of water is lost to leaks in Auckland's pipe network - Dunedin uses 40m L/day
570m: $ extension of the Waikato Expressway - if National win the election


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5236 (0.0028)
EUR 0.5813 (0.0085)
USD 0.6536 (0.0111)
AUD 0.9416 (0.0053)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Alexander Aitken
The Human-Computer
Alexander Aitken was the greatest mathematician of his era and possessed an astonishing computational brain that could complete challenges that today are reserved for the most complex computers. As one of the most remarkable mathematical brains of all time, Aitken could recite Pi to 707 decimal places, multiply two nine-digit numbers in his head in 30 seconds, and render fractions to 26 decimal places in under five seconds.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/alexander-aitken/


Joke of the Weekender

A woman in labour suddenly shouted, “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Couldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!”
“Don’t worry,” said the doctor. “Those are just contractions.”

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 27/06/2020

Welcome to summer. Well, not yet but we are on the way with the shortest day of the year during the week.


Sport

NZ and Australia have won the bid to host the 2023 Women's Football World Cup.

Last weekend the Blues held the Chiefs try-less to win 24-12 and we got a bit wet watching it as well.

The biggest news of the week was that the NZ Warriors sacked Stephen Kearney as coach. It's pretty unbelievable they would be so callous after all he has done getting the team to Australia and holding the team together while they are away from friends and family. Last weekend they lost 4-12 to the Rabbitohs and this weekend they lost 50-6 to the Melbourne Storm. A number of players are pretty upset at Kearney being sacked and are ready to call it quits and head home.

In netball, the Mainland Tactix beat the Waikato/BOP Magic 45-36.


NZ News

Well so much for our fantastic level 4 lockdown. The government has completely blown it. There was one more case of Covid-19 yesterday, and two more today taking NZ to 16 active cases. The problem is that 71 people have been released from managed isolation - who have refused to be tested for Covid-19. You mean that isn't a mandatory requirement of everyone coming into the country? The government sending everyone coming into the country into isolation but maybe they hadn't planned it or done any calculations because they quickly ran out of space in Auckland hotels. So without even warning travellers where they were going (or letting them go to the loo or grab some water) they filled up a packed bus and drove them straight to Rotorua for a two-week lockdown.
The government obviously needed a scapegoat because this week our underperforming and rule-breaking Health Minister David Clark threw Director general and face of the crisis, Ashley Bloomfield, under the bus. Just about everyone got upset about that since Clark was the one who couldn't even be bothered fronting for the media during the crisis and broke all his own rules.

The "most transparent government ever" has been accused of sneakily shifting the goalposts of their fees-free policy for tertiary study. The scheme was yet another of the government's cornerstone election campaign policies that didn't work.
The other big government backdown of the week is the Auckland light rail project which has been officially cancelled. The transport minister has also been caught out claiming AA members overwhelmingly supported the project when the actual survey results said something else.

There was a parliament stuff up this week as the MP's voted to allow prisoners serving a sentence of fewer than three years to vote. The muck up was that prisoners will be notified of their right to vote - even if they can't vote!
News also came out that the government ignored Treasury's advice "that a board-based, cash-in-hand grant scheme for businesses would help prevent widespread Covid-induced business failures". Instead, they have offered wage subsidies and cheap loans. Treasury also advised that cutting Kordia's transmission fees wouldn't do much and wouldn't help print media. But the government went ahead with the $21.1m option.


The Numbers Game

-10: degC at Mt Cook during the week
6: minutes of sunshine for Wellington last week
6.0: magnitude earthquake hit Milford Sound
8: km off the coast was where Raglan Coastguard found two well-prepared kayakers blown out to sea
38: % for National, up 9 points in the latest 1 News Colmar Brunton survey, Labour drop 9% to 50%, and NZ First plummet to 1.8%
65: mm of rain for Auckland Airport, the prediction is still a dry winter but Auckland is certainly getting a boost with all the rain over the last few days
100: jobs to be cut by St John to save $30m
228: charges against the Mongols MC gang across the Bay of Plenty
700: lightning strikes recorded west of New Zealand as the storms approached
572,000: $ spent by Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard to install a slide and playground on Parliament's front lawn
650,000: $ of assets restrained for money laundering from the Comanchero gang
15.1m: $ for some Auckland Council land sold in a "fire sale" when the CV was $28.8m
140m: $ of Russian 'computer genius' Alexander Vinnik have been frozen by the Police as it was controlled by an NZ company - he is accused of money laundering


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5208 (0.0019)
EUR 0.5728 (-0.0004)
USD 0.6425 (0.0018)
AUD 0.9363 (-0.0012)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Burt Munro
New Zealand’s Fastest Man: Salt Flats Speedster
Burt Munro, known as the fastest man from New Zealand, became internationally known for the records he broke at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the 1960s. In eleven record attempting trips to the National Speed Week, the Kiwi broke three world records on his Indian motorcycle – one of which still stands today. The “World’s Fastest Indian” from the edge of the world believed in boundless opportunities and in the importance of never giving up his dreams regardless of challenges along the way.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/burt-munro-worlds-fastest/


Joke of the Weekender

How many times can you subtract 10 from 100?
Once. The next time you would be subtracting 10 from 90.

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 20/06/2020

Welcome to the Weekender, tonight we have our first Chiefs home game in a while!


Sport

The Wellington Phoenix have been given clearance to travel to Sydney to resume the A-League season.

Last week Bryn Gatland kicked the Highlanders to a 28-27 win over the Chiefs down in Dunedin for the first of the Super Rugby Aotearoa games. The next day the Blues beat the Hurricanes 30-20 in Auckland to a sell-out crowd.

The Warriors continue to fail with consistency as they are trounced 40-12 by the Rabbitohs. Also, Warrior Wayde Egan has been charged with suspected eye-gouging during the game.

And in the restart of the ASB Netball Championship, the Mystics beat the Magic 47-40.


NZ News

Yesterday we had our 33rd police officer killed in the line of duty when he was shot along with a colleague and a member of the public in a routine traffic stop in West Auckland. Today it was announced he was Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt, aged 28. It was his lifelong dream to become a police officer.

We need a new section for government incompetence. Let's start with the word from our sound-byte Prime Minister about how she and a bunch of others would have their pay cut during the lockdown, so they could feel a little less bad about wasting huge amounts of our money. Well, they couldn't figure it out and even now her pay cut hasn't gone through. It's a bit weird, John Key figured out how to give away all his salary.
Another great sound byte from the Prime Minister was "Parliament should look like New Zealand", after announcing her new line up. However, in her top twenty, there are only six women (30% vs NZ 50%) but they got the Maori representation pretty close to the percentage at 20% vs 16.5% in the general population.
The government has apparently bypassed the built-for-purpose Infrastructure Commission when it came to green-lighting a bunch of shovel-ready projects to recover from Covid-19. The National MP said "You have to wonder why they bothered to establish an expensive new bureaucracy when they've not bothered to talk to them. This is another example of incompetence by a government that simply can't deliver."

A report came out this week saying how the Ministry of Health had no idea how much personal protective equipment it had, or how much it needed, or what had expired, or how it should be distributed. The report also attacked the mixed messages coming from Director-General of Health (the face of the Covid-19 response) Ashley Bloomfield.

But then the biggest blunder of the week - or the month - comes from the Ministry of Health who completely stuffed up the quarantine of the two English women who reintroduced Covid-19 to New Zealand. The two women requested leave from isolation and drove to Wellington for the funeral of a parent. But the ministry failed to properly even ask them the right questions to determine if they had Covid-19 - apparently, they just asked if "they were ok". Police Minister Stuart Nash described the incident as unforgivable and "unacceptable ineptitude" saying someone needs to be held accountable. But the chance of that happening with this government is pretty remote. The former police commissioner has said that six people absconded after being granted compassionate leave to attend a funeral in Hamilton. What about the joke that is the ministry's quarantine and managed isolation facilities? One News showed footage of people in "isolation" mixing with other people staying at the hotel, and then footage of people going on "managed walks" through Auckland and walking right past the public. There are also reports of people leaving the hotels without being obligated to even have a Covid-19 test.
The opposition health spokesman has claimed a homeless man sneaked into a five-start hotel being used as a quarantine facility and stayed there for two weeks. But with no sneaking required, the government spent $22m on housing homeless in motels during the lockdown. We found this on our trip to Napier recently. We struggled to find accommodation because of this - according to our host where we eventually stayed.

You may have forgotten but this government was elected claiming they would be the most transparent government ever, however they are remaining tight-lipped on their new candidate Ayesha Verrall who was one of the key voices advising the government during the Covid-19 crisis. Early on Verrall was very vocal in her criticism of the Government's contact tracing programme, but later on, said the system had improved.
The Prime Minister has defended the "Unite for the Recovery" ads that are being plastered all around, as the Act party leader claims they are thinly veiled Labour adverts. There have been claims that the Labour slogan for the election will be something similar.


The Numbers Game

-1.6: GDP for the first quarter of 2020 means economic disaster isn't far away, compared to Australia on -0.3 - don't forget that Jan & Feb were relatively normal months!
1: Volcanic Alert level for White Island
5: per 100,000 vs 16.5 per 100,000 consultations for the flu at this time of the year - lockdown has made a big dent on the annual flu numbers - an estimated 500 people die from the flu in NZ each year
5.1: magnitude earthquake shook the Bay of Plenty
7.4: magnitude earthquake near the Kermadec Islands (700km away) yesterday was felt widely across New Zealand and a tsunami was not expected
11: major project deemed "shovel-ready" are being fast-tracked to kick-start the economy including the Auckland Harbour Bridge "Skypath" cycleway and walkway
50: % drop in house sales for May but prices stay at near-record highs
99: % drop in arrivals for April to the lowest level in more than 50 years
102: mm of rain at Remutaka summit as heavy rain and snow hit the country with more expected over the weekend
15m: litres of water from the Waikato River for Auckland as the Council uses emergency powers for their ongoing water crisis
110m: $ to keep public transport running during Covid-19 was paid for by NZTA - remember we watched the empty buses in our area - we counted two passengers for the entire Level 4 lockdown
390m: $ subsidy for employers training apprentices at $16,000 each


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5188 (0.0049)
EUR 0.5732 (0.0004)
USD 0.6407 (-0.0040)
AUD 0.9375 (-0.0034)


The Weekender NZer of the week

John Britten
John Britten was a revolutionary motorcycle designer whose home-brewed machine won international plaudits with its stunning design and performance. The 300+ km/h blur of speed, the smell of burning rubber and the distinctive roar of the Britten V1000 motorcycle linger over the tarmac of kiwi myth and the world of motorcycle design. From his backyard in Christchurch John Britten melded the edges of design and engineering, the acclamation testifying to a visionary talent: “man against the manufacturers”, design genius, engineer, artist, thinker, entrepreneur, “the last of the great privateers”, inventor, “Renaissance man” – as well as architect, builder, glider pilot and glass sculptor.
https://www.nzedge.com/legends/john-britten/  


Joke of the Weekender

Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar
“Get out of here!” shouts the bartender. “We don’t serve your type.”

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 13/06/2020

Well, now we are on Level 1 - which is essentially all normal except for our borders.


Sport

The big rugby news of the week is that Dan Carter has signed with the Blues for the NZ version of Super Rugby. The Sunwolves were trying to join in the new Australian competition but the bid has ended, meaning the Sunwolves have ended their time in Super Rugby.
Along with Level 1 comes fans in the stands for Super Rugby Aotearoa, and it all starts this weekend.

The Warriors had a near-perfect first game when they beat St George Illawarra 18-0, but they followed that with a disappointing 26-0 defeat to Penrith, but bounced back with a good game beating the Cowboys 37-26.


NZ News

While the issues with Transmission Gully continue, an Official Information Act request has found the number of times Transport Minister Phil Twyford has visited the site. None. Not once, despite three invitations. Another clear case of Labour MP's who might be great speakers and lawyers, but don't seem to know much about business. And in other news, Labour has picked lawyers for it's Manurewa and Mana seats, while National has picked a farmer for Wairarapa.

In Covid-19 news, our Covid-19 death rate is just 0.45 deaths per 100,000 people, the second-lowest in the OECD world. The problem is that Australia's death rate is 0.41 and they didn't have anywhere the same restrictions. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claimed this week that the economy is back on track - National leader Todd Muller said: "She needs to get out more"!
The Prime Minister was this week angry with The Warehouse after it announced at least 1,000 jobs will be axed. I wonder if she is angry at her government for not helping, as government departments are the worst at the moment. And how about the government assigning a $371m KiwiRail contract overseas, rather than to one of the NZ firms bidding. They are also spending a bunch of advertising money on a big campaign telling us to spend our money locally. Do they really not see the hypocrisy?
One thing that the Taxpayers Union has noted is the cynical timing of the governments' Covid-19 spend-up. There are three schemes which finish shortly after the election on the 19th September, making them seem like they are spending all they can to get re-elected.
The introduction of Level 1 is basically everything normal except for borders. But who is allowed in? The government released a set of immigration rules this week - but blatantly broke those rules when they let Avatar film crew in without any basis.

The Queens Birthday Weekend honours were announced and Taika Waititi and Kieran Read have been made officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit. There are five new knights and dames: Jane Harding, Derek Lardelli, Karen Poutasi, Robert Elliott and Aroha Reriti-Crofts. I don't think I've heard of any of them before.

A number of well-off New Zealanders have slammed the government's $87m Covid-19 technology response. While lots of students who didn't have access to technology over the lockdown, didn't get anything, after lockdown is finished, a number of people who clearly don't need it were given a free modem. What a waste of money.

Another of the government's key election promises has fallen apart with the minister in charge of the Pike River Mine recovery, Andrew Little, announcing that now it is "just impractical" to expect the remains of all the fallen miners to be recovered. They have said they are now focussing on gathering evidence - but I think that is just code for "we want to carry on spending money, so we'll just say something that sounds likely".

The Police have decided not to go further with the "Armed Response Teams" after a six-month trial. Apparently they were supposed to record every time they were used - and they simply didn't bother.


The Numbers Game

0: active cases of Covid-19
4.9: magnitude earthquake near New Plymouth - which wasn't related to the Levin quakes
5.2: magnitude earthquake near Milford Sound
22: days of no new cases of Covid-19
32: people charged with the theft of 98 Jucy vehicles during the lockdown
64: % of Wellington workers surveyed wanted to work from home more
86: Auckland Council employees are paid more than $250,000
520: mm of rain was recorded at the Pinnacles in Coromandel after a 1 in 15-year storm - Auckland's water storage levels increased 1%
14,000: jobs have been lost, 3,500 from Air New Zealand, 1,100 from Auckland Council, 1,000 from Fletcher
15,750: $ fine for HEB Construction with Transmission Gully for 167 environmental consent breaches - a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket - and they'll probably pay it with the funds NZTA gave them for no reason
31,000: customers without power across the Far North
109,000: $ of government borrowing per household - we will be paying this back for generations
1.5m: $ bailout for Whale Watch Kaikoura
2.4m: $ in property and shares seized by the Police after an operation against the Tribal Huk gang
8m: $ for a humble three-bedroom home in Auckland, $2.4m above CV
14m: $ Covid-19 payment by NZTA for the Transmission Gully builders
16m: $ promised by National to scrap teacher registration fees
18.7m: $ cigarette smuggling ring was described as "unprecedented large-scale tax evasion"
37.5m: $ from the Provincial Growth Fund for Northland water storage
175m: $ package for the "decimated" arts & creative sector
401m: $ going into research in the hope of spurring innovation and development
1.5b: $ worth of planes the government is buying for the Defence Force


Finance NZ Dollar

Since 23/05/2020 (21 days ago).
GBP 0.5140 (0.0143)
EUR 0.5728 (0.0154)
USD 0.6448 (0.0368)
AUD 0.9409 (0.0107)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Dame Jane Harding
Distinguished Professor Jane Harding's career has always been focused on better outcomes for newborn babies and their families, so during the coronavirus crisis, her thoughts have been with the people who became parents during the lockdown.
"It must have been really difficult for the new families and the people looking after them ... and I know there were so many new mums and babies without extended family to support them."
Harding said she was "surprised and quite overwhelmed" when she learned she was to be appointed a dame companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her world-leading research into the health of newborn babies.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12335542  


Joke of the Weekender

Did you hear about the mathematician who’s afraid of negative numbers?
He’ll stop at nothing to avoid them.

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

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